Christians and the LGBT dilemma: a plea for honest dialogue

I can’t believe I’m writing about this.  I kind of wonder if a lot of Evangelical Christians in my generation are afraid to say anything either way about all of the same-sex marriage discussion going on…and I wonder this, because I feel it too.  I’m afraid of offending people, and I am afraid of being misunderstood.

So let me start by saying a bunch of disclaimers (that will at least make me feel better, haha).  No matter who you are reading this, I value and respect and am interested in your viewpoint.  There is a reason you believe what you believe.  Also, no matter what my personal convictions are, I do understand why people are fighting for same-sex marriage, why people are celebrating because of the recent Supreme Court decision, and why people might view opponents as judgmental or narrow-minded.  Any of these perspectives probably come from real-life experiences that are valid and important.

But what I wish more people understood is that even though our postmodern culture cries out for more and more autonomy and less and less authority, there are other ways of seeing the world.  There are many people all over the world — young and old alike, rich and poor included, Christian or not — who truly believe in an authority that is higher than humans.  And for those of us who ascribe to such convictions, it means that whether we understand it or not, whether we like it or not, we are faithful to this authority and we believe that somehow following it brings about good, trusting in this thing that is higher than even our desires or understanding.  Unlike the voice of our culture today, we believe in an absolute truth.  Maybe to some that is arrogant, but ironically, in my experience, submitting to a truth that’s bigger than me keeps me in my place.

And this is where I find myself today.  I know people even within Evangelical Christianity have different views about this issue.  But what I’m really asking for is not even the right to impose my beliefs on others or to be forceful in how I express them.  I’m simply asking for the right to believe what I believe without feeling judged.  I’m asking to be known as a person before being labeled for my beliefs or opinions — something I think people on all sides of these issues long for and deserve.  I too feel so much grief for the injustices experienced by the LGBT community, especially for the hatred and anger expressed in the name of Jesus. This reality does not change. I am happy for the positive movements towards grace and equality.  But when I read scriptures and seek God and consider what I know of Him already, I honestly cannot shake this conviction that there must be some other solution than to rewrite how marriage and family are designed to be.  I humbly submit to this, even if I don’t fully understand.

As you may have noticed, this belief system still does not assume any kind of political viewpoint.  I guess to me, that’s not what’s most important. Policies and culture and all of that will inevitably change, and I don’t feel strongly about it all one way or another.  (If you do, great! Live out your beliefs authentically and unafraid!)  Politics to me has become a way to divide, to perpetuate stereotypes and false assumptions.  All I know is, I have experienced the power and love of Jesus in my life, and I am simply doing my best to hear His voice and follow, that others might know Him too.

So I don’t know about you, where you stand on the same-sex marriage issue.  I’m not going to try to persuade you in words to see the world like I see it.  But I am pleading for honest dialogue and for a renewed interest, concern, and love for people of all different backgrounds and perspectives.  Behind every viewpoint is a person, and behind every person is a story.  Let’s learn to listen first.

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